Retrieving a Stuck CD is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

September 2, 2009 Hardware, Site News — walter

Hi there. Have you ever found yourself troubled by a nasty optical drive that just won’t let go of your favorite CD? Did you ever wish you could just tear that sucker apart and retrieve your long-lost companion? Worry no more, we here at iFixit have released a new jammed optical drives guide for such moments. All you need is a Phillips #0 screwdriver and a bit of patience to accomplish the task.

It’s a quick three-step guide that will surely help you rescue your precious CD from the treacherous grips of your optical drive. Our guide walks you through the most daunting procedures:

  • Removing the screws from the optical drive.
  • Lifting the top cover from the optical drive.
  • Obtaining inner peace by retrieving your CD.

Actually that pretty much covers the guide. Who knew happy and everlasting peace could be found in just three simple steps?

Take a look at our new guide and give us your comments, your opinions, your huddled thoughts yearning to breathe free. Do you know of any other methods to recover a CD from within an optical drive? We’re always looking to improve our guides!


  1. If the disc in question is stuck in a MacBook (I don’t know what models other than the latest support this), holding down the trackpad button whilst booting will force the drive to eject.

    Comment by Abraham Vegh — September 2, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  2. Macs have been able to eject CD’s by holding down mouse/trackpad button for years.

    Comment by Ed — September 3, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  3. Holding down the mouse/trackpad button does not work for everyone. I recently had a stuck cd in a Macbook (don’t know the exact model, but I think it was from 2007) and the only way to get it to eject was with the credit card trick. The credit card trick is where you insert a credit card or similar object into the cd slot so that it is above the CD, and then push down on the CD to get it to stop spinning while pressing the eject button repeatedly.

    Comment by Bob — September 5, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  4. That Credit Card trick is a nice way to screw the drive mechanism, but I can see how it does work. Just wouldn’t advise people to go that route, It would only end in tears.
    Usually the mechanism locks up when the CD is stuck like above. The best way is to open up the drive and remove like above, that way the mechanism will unlock itself to the open position once the machine starts up.

    Comment by Derek — September 7, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  5. Should be more correctly called the “Once you have the Optical Drive in Hand” easy 1,2,3. Depending on the Mac, that first part can be pretty invasive. Fortunately, you do have most of that covered in your take apart tutorials. As always, good stuff!

    Comment by Don — September 10, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  6. Most CD/DVD drives also have a tiny hole somewhere on the front. If you stick a pin in that and keep proding you will touch what feels like a gear, push on that with the pin and the drive will open. This hole is made on the front of most CD/DVD drives for this reason.

    Comment by Darren — September 10, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  7. Darren: Full sized (desktop) CD/DVD drives usually have the emergency eject holes; slim optical drives as are used in laptops often do not have the eject holes. Reason being that the height restrictions of portable optical drives has reduced the load/unload mechanism to being nonpowered. Most optical drives for portable devices rely on a tiny latch (released by a tiny solenoid) and a spring kicks the ‘tray’ open. Try using a few laptops at your local computer merchant.

    Derek: I’ve taken a few slim optical drives apart, the thin covers often distort during disassembly, and THAT quite often ends in tears, as well. Using a credit card to reach the same endpoint of useless optical drive is of no detriment there.

    Comment by Spuffler — September 21, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

  8. I have a problem with my drive, for some reason it won’t allways take the disc, but usually after a couple of tries, it will eat the disc and play it with absolutely no issues, is there something that needs to be adjusted or in another way lubricated/exercised…..

    Please help…


    Comment by Kent Nielsen — September 22, 2009 @ 11:47 am

  9. My iBook G4 combodrive just has a slot, (not a tray like my G3s)with no discernible paper clip emergency eject hole. The problem was the CD would TRY to eject, and I could just see the tip barely protruding, before it would suck it back inside. But you know what worked? The little flat tweezers from my good ‘ol Swiss army knife! I agree that the iFixIt guides are a fantastic resource, but it’s a BIG job tearing one of these iBooks apart to get at the optical drive! (And a mini Swiss army knife costs about ten bucks!)

    Comment by Dennis — October 4, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

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